Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New Jersey PARCC Scores *yawn*

From the Dyin-From-Not-Surprise Column, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) announced today that the majority of students who took the PARCC exam failed. If you're like me and you've been following/studying/banging your head against the wall while this crap unfolded over the last several years, you're not fazed. Here's why. 

We have watched New York go through this already. My New York friends have been warning me to "brace" myself. I'm braced. The scores look as expected. This is a multi-million dollar yawn

The spin will be that it was really good first try. We have a new benchmark (Really? You are setting a benchmark using a test that hasn't been validated? Explain how that works exactly...). Our kids can do better. The teachers suck, but Pearson is going to sell you a few more millions of dollars worth of test prep, teacher prep, and prep for the prep. And, if that doesn't work, well, the children clearly have issues with lack of grit and we can test for that too

The sections in the NJDOE explainer (page 7), comparing scores to NAEP and SAT are really interesting. They forgot to tell the average reader that "proficient" in NAEP-speak represents a very high level of achievement. They also forgot to mention that SAT, beginning with last week's in-school data-mining project delivery of PSAT, is now aligned to Common Core, like PARCC. So, very nice of them to explain SAT, but going forward, for students who are a junior or lower, this does not apply. They have no idea what PARCC scores will look like compared to SAT. 

Note to parents of juniors: Brace yourselves.

And, I can't let this go. What the heck is up with NJDOE making this announcement to only invited guests on the front lawn of New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company? And why did the list include (frankly, continues to include) the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the New Jersey Business & Industry Association? Those two, even more than the Gates and Prudential money taking PTA, really bothers me. They clearly have a fair amount of influence over NJDOE and our legislators. Why aren't parents and students afforded that kind of access? 

So, practically speaking, what does this all mean? Standardized tests don't teach. As parents, we need to speak up. Our children deserve so much better than this. Oh, and Opt Out of the tests. 

I'll leave you with a nod to Chris Tienken: